When it comes to having the skill set to run the front of the house, the back of the house, the groundskeeping, housekeeping and more, the new owners of the 1824 House Inn and Barn in Waitsfield have it in spades.
Sean Kramer and Farrell Leo, along with their son Finnegan, 12, moved to The Valley in mid-August so he could start school in advance of their closing on the purchase of the 1824 House from Dean and Connie Mendel, Rochester, on August 22.
And, while Sean and Farrell are new to The Valley and Vermont, they are not new to the hospitality industry, having moved to Jamaica to work as innkeepers when they were 24 years old. They were living in central Ohio at the time, working in archeology and coaching, when they took the jobs that would shape the next 20 years of their lives.
They’ve managed inns and event facilities in Negril, Jamaica; the west shore of Lake Tahoe; Park City, Utah; Ocala, Florida; outside of Philadelphia; and Saugatuck, Michigan; to name a few. During their stint as manager/innkeepers at the Inn at Grace Winery in Glen Mills, Pennsylvania, they not only managed the 15 room inn, but they handled renovating a 1750s four-story barn into an event space, winery and tasting room and planted vineyards for the winery, adding the titles of general contractor, vineyard manager and vintner to their list of renaissance human skill sets.
“We planted 9,000 vines on 5 acres for the vineyard, which produces 1,500 cases of wine a year,” Sean said.
Having lived and worked all over the country and in Jamaica, when they began looking for the right place to become inn owners, they had a few specific criteria.
“We were looking for something in a place where we weren’t the only draw. The Mad River Valley has ski areas, summer recreation, foliage, wedding businesses, not to mention the swim hole right across the road from their eight-room inn. We searched far and wide, but chose The Valley to call home for our family,” Farrell said.
“This has a lot of similarities to Lake Tahoe with its mix of summer and winter recreation,” she added.
They are avid skiers and plan to ski Sugarbush and Mad River Glen. Finnegan is already running cross-country at Harwood Union Middle School.
Their first foliage season has been busy and they’re happy about that. Their guests already know that Sean, who handles the kitchen, is an eggs Benedict master chef. On any given morning there may be one of his many varieties of the dish such as roasted pork and cherry reduction, smoked brisket, fried green tomato or smoked salmon to go along with a full menu of other favorites like corned beef hash, buttermilk pancakes and omelets. If we’re lucky, maybe the public will be able to sample them in the future.